Author Archives: Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

As nursing home death and infection rates rise, how is isolation affecting seniors?

senior-walker

Photo: SalFalko via Flickr

As the U.S. enters what experts predict may be the most severe months yet of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of infections and deaths among residents and workers in nursing homes is rapidly rising.

Much of the nation is experiencing a resurgence of COVID-19 cases, and perhaps no situation is more concerning than that of nursing home residents and workers. A report released Dec. 10 by two senators ― Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), ranking member of the Finance Committee, and Bob Casey (D-Penn.), ranking member of the Special Committee on Aging ― indicate an already-dire situation in nursing homes is worsening. Continue reading

Importance of home-based care programs for older adults grows during pandemic

home-based funding

Photo: stirwise via Flickr

We all know the toll that COVID-19 has taken on older adults in institutional settings. It’s prompted many aging advocates and policymakers to rethink how we deliver care to the frail elderly and whether the traditional nursing home model needs to change.

Many experts agree that more care should occur in community and home settings, but we lack enough clinicians to provide it and many states lack the resources to pay for it. However, home and community-based services (HCBS) can save money in the long term, studies have shown, and this care approach can work on many levels. Continue reading

Reporter takes readers inside a nursing home’s effort to fight COVID-19

mask and gloves

Photo: Scouse Smurf via Flickr

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, nursing homes throughout California were preparing for a wave of cases. Older adults, particularly those who are frail or have multiple chronic conditions, are among those at the highest risk of developing COVID-19 and dying from the complications.

The New York Times reports that, as of Nov. 27, more than 101,000 nursing home residents and workers have died of COVID-19, roughly 39% of all U.S. deaths from the virus.

Sacramento Bee reporter Jason Pohl decided to look at homes with the most problems; those with violations, poor ratings and dodgy inspection reports.

Continue reading

Poll explores hesitancy among older adults to get a COVID-19 vaccine

Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/gilbert_mercier/49924257947">Gilbert Mercier</a> via Flickr

Photo: Gilbert Mercier via Flickr

A new poll of adults over age 50 – one of the highest-priority groups to receive a COVID-19 vaccine – suggests an uphill climb may lie ahead for some in this group to get vaccinated.

One in five older adults (20%) indicated they want to get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. However, nearly half (46%) said they want to wait until others have received it, according to the survey released Nov. 24 by the National Poll on Healthy Aging project at University of Michigan. Continue reading

AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine shows promise for older adults

Transmission electron micrograph of SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, isolated from a patient.

Photo: NIAID via FlickrTransmission electron micrograph of SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, isolated from a patient.

There’s good news for older adults from a new phase2/phase 3 trial of the COVID-19 vaccine under development by Oxford University and AstraZeneca. Researchers found that the partners’ ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine provides a similar immune response across age groups following a boost dose and appears to be better tolerated in older adults than in younger adults, according to a study published last week in The Lancet. Continue reading

Where are the aging experts in Biden’s COVID-19 task force?

Joe Biden

Photo: jlhervàs via Flickr

Consider this: COVID-19 has hospitalizations and deaths among those over 65 are five and 90 times higher respectively than in those 18 to 29, according to the CDC. The rate also is a whopping 13 and 630 times higher among the 85 and older cohort than among younger people. Take into account that while adults 65 and older account for 16% of the U.S. population, they comprise 80% of COVID-19 deaths in the nation, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Continue reading